Why do this?

My father, José Luis Villamizar Melo, passed away in my home town of Cúcuta, Colombia, in August last year. The law and economics were Dad's profession, but literature, history and academia his passion. He wrote and published several books, articles and book chapters. The thing is that so many people have missed out on his work, particularly on his beautiful poetry, which he wrote in Spanish prior to the world wide web. So I thought, what a better way to keep Dad's legacy alive than to bring his writing beyond his world and share it with mine. That is why I am translating over 250 of my Dad's poems to English and publishing them here, one a day, Monday to Friday during 2011 (Dad, a family man, always believed that you shouldn't work on weekends).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The terraces (Los zaguanes)

Another of my Dad’s celebrations of the small things in life. From his book Elementary motherland (Patria elemental)

The terraces (Los zaguanes)

Neither in or out of the house there was refuge
out on the terrace. Under the roof,
without surprise, could have been love, a stolen kiss,
a little secret, the denial of panic,
shelter, the night of the homeless beggar,
elusion of boredom.

Ah, the terraces, framed by the almond trees
from the streets! Signs of an open house
all the way to the place where
the large gates of intimacy began.

The gate was like a wooden boundary
that allowed outsiders see at the back
a pool in the middle of a backyard
populated by birds and flowers.

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